Interview with N.R. Burnette

Can you tell us a bit about your life before you became an author/writer?
I grew up loving two things: martial arts and video games. Bruce Lee was my first ever role model, Yuzo Koshiro was my next. After serving in the US Marines, I wrote music for video games. Then I tried mixed martial arts. The free t-shirts were nice, but I never went pro.
How did you start writing? And why Science Fiction & Fantasy?
I tried several times to write in my past, but never broke a paragraph or two. It wasn't until enough experiences, successes, and personal failures, that I had enough mutton to really talk about something. So one day, when I realy wanted to quit my job, I
started writing seriously, just before I turned 30. As for why Science Fiction and Fantasy, they say do what you know.
What inspires you to write your books?
Inspiration has always come easy, the creation part is what kills you. I can't watch a movie, flip through a comic book, play a game, have coffee, or stare at a shoe on the ground without inspiration coming to me. I instantly see a scene or a character, and if I like it enough, I write it down. My night table is littered with slips of paper that are ideas I have. Awhile later if I still like it, I think about doing something with it.

Creating a book is a 2 year commitment, so I've become choosy.
Which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
I’ve experienced both, each book has been different. Cargo Lock 5 came to me through the character John's story. Of course, he died after assimilating his vengeance into an android, so I came up with more characters to chart his vengeance. Somehow that
became the antihero Taylor, who has his own story of revenge.
What sparked the idea for your novel "Cargo Lock 5" & your new series "Paphos"?
I first came up with John from Cargo Lock 5 while watching television in a hotel, in a small town in Germany. I was watching a documentary on WWII, which seemed more authentic since I was actually in that country at the time. And as I considered the war, I remembered hearing stories where parents had mercifully poisoned their children to spare them from some horrifying, impending death. As a new father of my second child, I couldn't imagine anything more difficult, more heart wrenching, than that. So I made John do it. And I felt the perfect place to get his revenge would be a futuristic, cyberpunk version of Seattle.

For Paphos, I was looking for my next project. I knew I really loved Aliens by James Cameron, and the Lost series by J.J. Abrahms. I wanted to create a story that would bond you to characters trapped in a terrifying situation, so that by the end you felt like you had taken every step with them. I picked the father and daughter angle with Austin and Carolina because it is one of the strongest bonds between people. The drastic lengths I would take to save my child are more than I would to save a friend, or a lover, or even family. There is an extra notch of insanity that I would climb through if my child were in danger. (Dear other people in my life, I still love you too, and would gladly do many things for you, like paying your video rental late fees, help you move, and donate a kidney.) So the ultimate focus is the human element, which is paramount. Because in action, a car full of people can go off a cliff, and you won't care, unless you care about one person in that vehicle. Then you
are sitting on the edge of your seat, praying for a miracle.
For you, what was your favorite part of being an author/writer?
The best part is that it became an answer to a riddle I've had all of my life. I've always been creative, a constant thinker, imaginer, wonderer, armchair philosopher. I've always been able to see a person's point of view, even if their actions are completely separate from mine. The villain always thinks they are doing what is right, they believe it wholeheartedly, they think they are the good guys. So what do I do with all of this insight? Writing is that perfect solution for me. And also, when I walk into a hotel, and I can't get a room because I don't have a reservation and everything is booked, I just lean over the counter and say, "look, I'm a writer." That usually clears everything up.
And what’s the hardest part about being an author/writer?
First, that not everyone will love your book. Second, the characters become people in your life, people that only you know. You hold this amazing thing that is impossible to share as you construct their stories in complete isolation. I spent two years writing
Cargo Lock 5, and I literally cried the very first time I heard someone talking about Catheri.
What do you have planned in the way of future novels/series?
Spring of 2014 I'm re-releasing a Japanese god of war fantasy novel called Kenji. After that I'm going to make a SF short story collection and give it away to readers. Free is a great price, and I've got these great story ideas that I think readers will really enjoy. I'm very excited about that project, because aside from getting my work out there, the stories are just cool.
Do you have any favourite authors or books?
Early on, it was Lloyd Alexander and Robert Jordan. Now, Philip K Dick and Rick Yancey. Matthew Mather is a nice guy and his work is great too. For books, Neuromancer and Game of Thrones are two definite favorites.
If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I'd want to have dinner with my great grandmother, Valda, so I can apologize for asking her if she came across on the Oregon Trail when I was in Kindergarten, and to thank her for all the cookies.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to become a published writer?
That's easy, just be brilliant. If you can't, be persistent. Chase as many life experiences as you can, they all become a tool in your belt when you write.
Published 2014-01-21.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Paphos 1
Series: Paphos, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 22,900. Language: English. Published: November 13, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
(1.00 from 1 review)
Seven doomed explorers, trapped, hunted, and turned against one another. When Austin brought his daughter to the unexplored planet Paphos, it was supposed to be a chance to reconnect with her. But when he and his crew of scientists discover an alien facility, all of that changes. This book is part 1.